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Oregon 450 vs. 450t

Started by glubsch, May 01, 2010, 08:57:19 AM

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Hello, I'm new to this forum and to handheld GPS for hiking. If the only difference between the Oregon 450 and the 450t is the 100k U.S. topomap, why wouldn't I just get the Oregon 450 and buy the topomap separately? The Garmin U.S. 100k topomap is available for $76 at Amazon. Is there anything I should be aware of as far as the differences between the two GPS units goes?

How do the maps available here for free compare to the commercially available maps in case I decide to buy the Oregon 450 and not bother buying Garmin's topomap?


The only reason to get the 450t would be if you want maps of the entire US available at all times. Because of technical limits to Garmin's map format, the Oregon will only support 4,000 map segments. Segments are the individual tiles that make up the full map. On the DVD version, Garmin uses very small segments to remain compatible with older units that have tiny amounts of memory. This results in about 6,600 segments for the full US, so you could only load 2/3 of the country.

The pre-loaded maps in the 450t use much bigger segments to get around this issue - the full US only consists of ~450 segments, which leaves plenty of capacity to add other maps along with US topo. This version of US topo is not available for purchase separately. Segment size is determined by the mapmaker and can be pretty much whatever you like. This is completely unrelated to the size of the map file, which is the same for both versions of US Topo (~3gb).

No possible way to generalize about the quality of maps on this site vs US topo. The maps here were created by many different people for different purposes. You will need to decide for yourself. As one of the map contibutors myself, I think this site is great.  ;D Nevertheless, I have an Oregon 400t with US Topo. But I got it when the series was first introduced and it was the only version available. It's nice to always have the Garmin maps available if you're traveling somewhere and don't want to prepare in advance. The Garmin maps don't have a lot of accuracy if you zoom way in, but they aren't so bad either and have a decent selection of POI's. Use the "View Map" tab here to look for yourself:

If money isn't terribly important to you, then get the 450t just for the convenience. But if you're on a budget, get the 450 and see how you like the free maps you find here. If you don't, you can add as much of US topo as will fit later.


Thanks, Boyd. Very useful information. I don't know if I really need the whole US in a GPS just for hiking purposes. If I travel somewhere, I take along my TomTom to guide me while driving. The 450/450t would purely be used for hiking and geocaching. I wonder if I better go with the 450, get a map for the San Francisco Bay Area and the set for all the national parks. I don't think I need much more than that.


The National Park maps are old and have been discontinued by Garmin. They also only covered very limited areas and were somewhat expensive. They are listed at the bottom of the page here:

You might look at Garmin's 24k topo's for your area though. They are also expensive and only cover a few states with each product, but the roads are routable (can be used to provide driving directions), unlike the 100k topo maps. Maps on this site are not routable either in almost all cases.


Quote from: Boyd on May 02, 2010, 07:02:34 AM
Maps on this site are not routable either in almost all cases.

Unless you want to go to Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef.

Trails on those maps should be pretty reliable, as should main roads.  Side roads should be subject to all the TIGER caveats.


Cool - didn't know you had posted those!


I was actually planning to hike the Subway in Zion National Park this coming weekend. I'm not sure though I'll get the GSP in time as I'm still not sure if it's worth spending the extra $100.


The Subway only shows up as a POI on my map, and a GPSr would be pretty useless there from what I've seen in photos.  For that matter, both my OR300 and my 60CSX were pretty useless in Zion on April 22, 2010.  The images that follow are a side by side comparison between the OR on my belt and the 60CSX with a Gilsson FME antenna in my hat.  The track runs from the Grotto bus stop to the point above Refrigerator Canyon where you can get a photo of Walter's Wiggles.

Not much joy either way, until I got above Scout Lookout.  The OR was a little better below Refrigerator Canyon, but not much.  After Scout Lookout both units performed fine.


The only advantage I see to the 450T is the added memory.  100k maps generally look like they've been through a sandblaster, so I'd get my topo from here.

Let us know how it goes.


Thanks seldom_sn. Yesterday I put in my order for the Oregon 450 as it appears from various web pages, I better save the $100 and get better maps for the areas I'm interested in. I also read a lot of good things about the maps offered here.

Once I get my hands on my GPSr, I'll download your map for Zion. Let's see how my Oregon 450 performs. I'll give you an update once I'm back.